10 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Used Car
We at Fairless Motors strongly believe that buying a pre-owned vehicle instead of a new one is the right choice for so many Americans. You have a huge variety of options and can find significantly more budget friendly vehicles, especially when you go through a used car dealership that offers a large range of used cars. But there is a lot to consider before starting the process, which is why we put together the following 10 things you should know before buying your used car or truck.
Establish A Budget Range, Not Just A Set Amount
Before you get too set on your dream car that may be out of your price range, determine what your budget is. Make a full budget spreadsheet to keep track of your income vs. expenses if you don’t have one already. List all your income and known expenses like your rent/mortgage, average utilities, loans, credit card payments, and estimate anything else that you pay regularly, such as food, clothing, entertainment, etc. If you already have an affordable car payment, use that as a baseline for your new vehicle’s budget.
Once you determine what monthly payment makes sense for your budget, write down a range. The low price should be 10 to 20 percent less of what that number is, and the higher price should be 10 to 20 percent above. Starting your shopping with a feasible range gives you more options to buy. If you find a car that you love and is cheaper, that’s great. But knowing exactly how much more you can spend, car eliminate the hassle later, or keep you from making an impulse buy that isn’t really within your budget.
Start the Process with A Brand or Model in Mind
There are many reasons why one auto company can stand out to you. Prices make some people value a few brands, as they know they have affordable options. An individual’s brand loyalty or the influence of friends and family can be an effective way of forming a relationship with an automaker. Or, you can decide that you just like one or two manufacturers more than the rest, and that’s okay. Narrowing down a brand or model will help you narrow your search and be less overwhelmed by options. Consider factors like the car’s use, driving distance per week, the mileage and the price of gas in your area, and maybe even your typical parking situations.
Used Car Terms: CPO and Second-Tier Vehicles
There is significantly more risk involved with buying from an individual seller rather than going through a dealership. Used cars can be identified two ways. Certified Pre-Owned, or CPO, vehicles go through a checklist of inspections, repairs, and normally have established warranties. Second-Tier vehicles refer to cars that may be the affordable solution to a higher priced model. For example, Honda Accord to the Nissan Altima. Both perform similarly, but one will consistently have a lower price tag.
How to Make Depreciation Work In Your Favor
Depreciation, as it applies to new cars, explains the fall in value of a new car after it is driven off the lot. Cars with depreciated value, such as a car that’s just a couple of years old, will sell for significantly less on a used car lot. Searching for a model similar to the brand-new car you idolize, such as the model from two years ago, will help you make educated and smart purchases.
Can You Trade in Your Current Vehicle?
Trading in your current vehicle is a great way to immediately lower the price on the car you want to drive home. Fairless Motors will trade in your used car for your new vehicle. Visit our appraisal page to get an initial quote on how much you can save on your new car by trading in your current car.
Browse the Used Car Inventory Before You Visit A Dealership
In today’s market, a respectable dealership will have a reliable website and maintain an updated inventory. Being able to review inventory before going to see cars on a lot will not only show you what’s in stock, but their advertised prices as well.
Verify Prices and Availability Before Going to See the Car
Calling a dealership to confirm the online price and that the car is still available is a great way to make sure the dealership’s inventory and prices are accurate and up to date. At Fairless Motors, we update ours daily to make sure you can see our current selections, of low mileage, late model vehicles online.
Make Sure You Ask for All Specs and History
You can see a lot of specs on an online inventory or on a flyer your salesperson will give you. But what about repairs, accidents, and title history? Find the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and run that through CarFax. If the VIN isn’t on the car’s listing, you can often find it on the driver-side door, left side of the dashboard, or the steering wheel. The VIN is 17 characters long and is usually made up of both numbers and capital letters. All Fairless Motors, all vehicles have undergone a complete inspection, been professionally detailed, and come with a free CarFax History Report.
See How Buying Used Will Affect Your Insurance
There’s nothing like the disappointment of getting ready to purchase your dream car, checking your insurance, and then finding out purchasing that exact car will send your insurance premium through the roof. Call your insurance provider or use any online tool they have to see how your new purchase will affect your premium. Generally, older cars have cheaper premiums, but automaker, model, and the vehicle’s history are the factors that affect your premium the most. Things like safety features, price of replacement parts, the model’s rate of theft or break-ins, or even the name of the model having words like “turbo” can raise insurance premiums. Although the car itself may be within your budget, double check that the insurance coverage is also within your budget.
You Can Finance A Used Car with Low Credit
A bad credit score can leave people feeling helpless or like they won’t ever be able to afford a car that would otherwise fit in their budget. At Fairless Motors, our specialized auto financing team can help you find affordable loan options regardless of your credit history. Our goal is to see you walk away happy and confident with your new vehicle purchase.
Your Used Car Buying Checklist
After reading this, don’t be overwhelmed. Here’s a quick checklist of things to know or have while searching for your perfect used car:
- Your budget range
- Your insurance payment range
- An idea of the car you want and what you need it to do or have
- Check your dealership’s online inventory
- Do a credit check with the dealership for financing options
- Verify the car’s price and availability
- Verify the car’s history
- See how the car affects your insurance premium
- Go see the car and test drive it!